Yina Cordero entered Merrimack College's graduate program in community engagement with an impressive history of community consciousness and activism - working with children and families, with a particular focus on educational access for underrepresented communities. Her graduate program, combined with a Newman Fellowship, will refine the very real drive and passion she has demonstrated with some valuable tools to make her more effective as she works to make our world better. Merrimack calls upon its students to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives, and to do so within our Catholic, Augustinian tradition, which prioritizes communal action and communal benefit in all that we undertake. Yina came to Merrimack with that Augustinian spirit already firmly in place and fully on display in her life. She is a strong and driven young women who has a vision of a better world and does not shy away from working for it.
My interest in educational reform was sparked at a young age. Growing up in a poor neighborhood with limited educational opportunities, I sought ways to grow academically. At fourteen, I was writing essays to apply to a program that would allow me to attend schools rich in resources and opportunities. While I was fortunate enough to be accepted into this program, I wondered about those other students who were not as fortunate. As I continued my education, I became increasingly aware of the educational inequities that exist in our society and how these differences are based largely on race, ethnicity, and class. Since then, my passion for educational access and opportunity has only grown stronger. My current work as a Home Visitor allows me to support low-income children and families by being an advocate and providing them with the necessary resources and knowledge to become advocates themselves. I not only help to ensure that these children get the best education possible at an early age, but I also provide families with the necessary support to be able to be their children's strongest advocate.